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What is empathy and how to develop it?

You probably also know people who have the ability to understand others perfectly and respond to their needs in a timely manner. Is it a question of superpowers or supernatural abilities? Absolutely not. Instead, it is a very human quality, empathy.

What is empathy?

The word ’empathy’ comes from ancient Greek and means ‘to feel inside’.  It is the ability to listen actively and without judgment to the people around you and to recognize and understand the emotions and feelings they have.

What empathy is for

The ability to “put yourself in other people’s shoes” and to resonate with them is the basis of sociality and relationships.

Empathy removes blocks caused by prejudice and misunderstandings and enables transparent and positive relationships. Feeling and sharing what the people around you are feeling allows you to understand their behavior and actions and to establish clear and effective communication, which is the driving force behind relationships based on honesty and trust. This condition contributes to creating a serene, constructive, and sharing climate, which is beneficial for everyone. Starting with you. Empathy generates empathy and allows you to be and express yourself without wearing masks for fear of not being understood or judged.

Empathy: how to develop it?

Some people have more and some have less, but the good news is that empathy can be developed and strengthened. How?

The first and fundamental step is to be humble. This attitude does not mean belittling or underestimating your abilities and qualities, but being open and curious about others and what they are and think. This disposition of mind and intent is the basis of active listening, which is one of the keys to empathy.

In the same way, it is very important that you learn to look inside yourself and recognize and manage your emotions and feelings. Identifying your moods and knowing how to control them allows you to approach others without “gut” prejudices and to act with respect and balance. A further step is to get out of your comfort zone and interact with people outside your usual circle of acquaintances and friends.